by Erik Ritland
Rambling On is a seriously fun blog and podcast covering sports, music, culture, and more. Check us out on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, or at our website.
It’s finally here: the push to the baseball playoffs! The NFL begins this week too, so here are the predictions of a great football mind. Mine.
3. New York
With the Giants in a transitional period and the Redskins lacking an identity, the NFC East will be a tight race between the Cowboys and Eagles. Because Philadelphia has so many new pieces, specifically at coach and quarterback, the more stable Cowboys will win out in the end. Despite their inferior defense and aging quarterback.
2. St. Louis
4. San Francisco
The demise of the Seattle Seahawks has been greatly exaggerated. They have top players at quarterback and running back, their receiving core is above average, and their defense is still elite. St. Louis and Arizona will be in the mix but expect Russell Wilson and company to win a tight race.
1. New Orleans
4. Tampa Bay
The NFC South is the most middle of the road division in the NFL. Each team has a good chance of being mediocre and none of them jump out as being great. Any of the top three teams could win the division and they’ll all have similar records. The Bucs should make a small jump forward but will still be a non-factor.
1. Green Bay
The Vikings are a trendy pick to do well this year. Some are even picking them to win the division (which I think is a joke). I hope I eat my words and my hometown team proves me wrong, I swear. But with the worst offensive line in the league backing an unproven quarterback, rusty aging running back, and below average receiving group, I don’t see how they’ll improve much over last year.
Although their defense will suffer from the loss of Ndamukong Suh, the Lions potent offense is better than ever on paper and they’ll surprise some people this year. The Bears might be the worst team in the league.
1. New England
4. New York
I’ve been an outspoken critic of Tom Shady, Bill Billicheat, and the flagrant disregard for the rules that the Patriots organization has had for over a decade. The biggest part I don’t understand is that they’ve always had a good eye for talent and never needed to cheat in the first place. They’re the Richard Nixon of the NFL: they didn’t have to cheat to win and they’re a bunch of dicks (see what I did there?).
They still have talent, though, and they know what to do with it. Brady is in his twilight, but as we saw last year that’s still pretty impressive. I’m real high on Buffalo and I don’t really know why, it’s just a hunch. They’ve improved all around but will be in a tight race with the dangerous Dolphins for second place.
2. San Diego
4. Kansas City
Assuming that Peyton Manning has another year left in him the Denver Broncos don’t have any glaring weak spots. Kansas City and San Diego will be competitive, as they were last year, but the biggest leap forward will be from the Raiders. I want to choose them to finish second but don’t quite have the guts.
Yikes, this division reeks. Houston will probably be second but the Jags are on the rise and I love teal. The AFC South will be Andy Luck’s division for years to come.
Another competitive division. The NFL is filled with quarterbacks at the end of their career, and like the Broncos, Patriots, and Cowboys the Steelers need Ben Roethlisberger to perform well to have a chance. He will. Baltimore and Cincinnati are better defensively, and they’ll be in the mix, but ultimately Pittsburgh has the right combination of veteran and young talent to push their way ahead of them.
Green Bay, Seattle, Dallas, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Detroit
Dallas over Detroit; Philadelphia over New Orleans
Green Bay over Philadelphia; Seattle over Dallas
Green Bay over Seattle
I know, picking the Lions to make the playoffs is a stretch, but I have to pick something that sets me apart from every other 2015 NFL prediction.
Even without Jordy Nelson the Packers are the most dangerous offense in the league. The Seahawks defense is good but won’t be good enough. Barring another fourth quarter collapse from Green Bay of course.
Denver, Indianapolis, New England, Pittsburg, Buffalo, Cincinnati
Buffalo over Pittsburgh; New England over Cincinnati
Denver over Buffalo; Indianapolis over New England
Denver over Indianapolis
It’s almost Indianapolis’ time. They’ll have a better part of the next decade, but for now the Broncos will have their last gasp.
Super Bowl 50
Green Bay over Denver
It won’t be as bad as the Broncos loss to the Seahawks, but the Packers will win this shootout of a Super Bowl on the shoulders of Aaron Rodgers.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. His blog and podcast Rambling On features commentary on music, sports, culture, and more. He was also Lead Staff Writer for Minnesota culture blog Curious North. Support Erik's music via his Patreon account, reach him via email, or find him on Facebook and Twitter